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Loose Cannons Still Firing

Maybe Lee Hamilton is a racist, but since this is a baseball site, and Hamilton basically just does "The Best 15 Minutes in Football," we'll discuss him another time.

Let's give the Loose Cannons some pub for a change. Steve Hartman and Bill Werndl are the Cannons, airing weekdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on XTRA 690 AM radio.

It's a fun show, with a nice mix of personalities. Hartman is the "liberal," young, L.A. guy turned San Diegan, who used to work for Al Davis, and knows everything that ever happened in the three major sports (hockey too, like that matters.) Good voice, sound broadcasting acumen, and does as well as can be expected pretending to care about the Padres.

Werndl plays the old-school Philadelphia workhorse, who does real reporting and breaks stories. He talks about the offensive line too much, but knows his stuff and has been without question, the best possible man to follow Chet Forte.

This isn't Greg Brock replacing Steve Garvey we're talking here. This works, and in much the same way as the former duo. Steve and Chet were a real team, and Steve and Bill have developed into one too. The banter is similar, the point-counterpoint as good, even though you know Hartman actually likes Mike Piazza and doesn't think Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame, and the sports talk is perhaps better than before.

A few small criticisms. The show could use a little less talk about Billy being supine all the time, about Hooters, and maybe a tad less about the Drake. Also, Werndl should can the fake laugh, and just laugh if something is funny.

Oh, and guys, please re-record the Koufax award intro, so that the voiceover goes "Here's Steve Hartman and Bill Werndl." Having Billy chime in with "and Bill Werndl" is weak. Spend the two dollars.

Aside from that, it's a great show. One would think the sales staff could find better advertisers. Teddy bears and penile enlargement? Maybe it's teddy bear penile enlargement, I don't know.

Body Solution is lame too. C'mon. "Just a teaspoon of Body Solution and an eight ounce glass of water, eat nothing for three hours before you go to bed, and the pounds just melt away." Please. A teaspoon of water and an eight-ounce glass of water will do the same thing, if you stop the scarfing three hours before bed.

Anyway, the Loose Cannons, the Coach and Chris Ello (even if he does misspell Bobby Thomson on the XTRA website) make the station. Not Hacksaw.

Oh, and for the record, Hartman can be stumped. Anytime, Steve, your place or mine.

Enough with the whining from media critics about the job MLB did scheduling playoff broadcasts. Look, I love jumping on baseball and Bud Selig as much as the next guy, but they're damned if they do or don't, whatever they come up with. The scheduling is fine. Find something else to complain about.

Fox also gets too much flak. They're solid on baseball. Sure, Thom Brennaman thinks every thing in every game is "outstanding," when in reality not everything can be outstanding, but that's no biggie.

The camera work is as good as NBC ever dreamed of, Joe Buck is great and improving, and Tim McCarver is OK too. Jeanne Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy do a yeoman's job in the studio too, and at least one of them has a pretty smile.

The ex-jock in the booth thing is as old as Dizzy Dean, but Steve Lyons may be the first guy to go from the field to the studio host and anchor's chair, in addition to doing color. In that, Lyons is unique to his profession, and deserves some credit.

From the "ding, dong, the witch is dead" department, the Dodgers and KXTA are no more. Finally.

Finally, when driving, oh, twenty miles from the transmitter, or passing a two-story building almost anywhere in Los Angeles, we'll actually be able to hear a Dodger game. KFWB, 980 on your AM dial, early March, Vero Beach or perhaps West Palm. Be there. Aloha....

Howard Cole

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